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(en) France, The European Constitution: Alternative libertaire says NO (de, fr, it)

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 1 Oct 2004 11:18:32 +0200 (CEST)


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In theory, a Constitution is supposed to lay out rules for the
political functioning of a State and the fundamental principals for
a legal framework for its laws. The Constitution drafted by the
Giscard Commission is of a different nature. It does not set out
new institutions for what will be a "European State" federal or
confederal : it simply redefines the rules governing the functioning
of the intergovernmental framework already in existence; where,
carved in marble are some of fundamental principles that virtually
restates everything about the inviolate nature of market law.

So far nothing new has emerged in relation to the treaties of
Maastricht (1992), Amsterdam (1997) or Nice (2000), they are a
continuation (a series of developments essentially linked to
economic factors, but including military aspects, foreign affairs
and immigration) of the Rome Treaty of 1957 instituting the
European Economic Community.

However, the European Constitution represents a substantial leap.
Nearly 50 years after the Rome Treaty, another foundation stone
is required in the EU architecture, a legal base for a "new
departure" which will make the internal market economy a rigid
legal cage for every member state or any future members.

Looking at its political mechanisms, the EU architectural
structure has remained essentially unchanged: co-decisions and
qualified majority votes (with new states representing at least 60%
of the EU population). The running of the EU political machinery
remains as ever in the hands of the technocrats in Brussels.
Finally, indirect "democracy" becomes even more indirect and the
real decision-making centres even more hermetic.
The adoration of the internal market, the sun-king of the EU.

The way in which the Giscard project conferred a constitutional
character on the control mechanisms of competition, borders on
the absurd and says a great deal about the nature of "European
construction". Behind that seductive term borrowed from
internationalist ideals, the bourgeoisies from the various states
have set out to create a commercial code that would best
guarantee the growth of their wealth within a balanced framework
for their respective interests. The losers are the working classes of
every country of the Union in this so-called "construction", of a
continental part of world capitalism.

The vocabulary of Giscard's constitutional draft revealingly
employs a subterfuge by proclaiming great humanitarian
principles. But buried in the articles are finer points codifying just
the opposite. This is clearly evident in the way different parts of
the project are presented. Thus, Part I (The objectives of the
Union), Part II (Charter of fundamental rights), or Part III (The
politics and functioning of the Union), each gives an entirely
different vision of the project.

For example article 1-2 declares that "the Union is based on
indivisible and universal values of human dignity, equality and
solidarity, it rests on the principles of democracy and the rights of
the State." But this wonderful declaration is contradicted in the
following articles 111-69, 70, 77, 144 and 180 all identically
repeating that the. Union will act "in conformity with the respect
for the principles of an open economic market where competition
is free".
Barriers against any attempts to cede to social temptations

In their pursuit of anti-social policies, different EU governments
have shown no hesitation in hiding behind the constraints of the
UE treaties. Consequently, a fundamental treaty like the
constitutional project stipulates as obligatory a whole rang of
liberal dispositions (including certain clauses that specifically
correspond to demands made by certain big bosses lobbies), to
demand unanimity voting for any measures that might go against
capitalist interests, is to block all political attempts in that
direction. This is the certainly case for measures against tax fraud,
or taxation of companies, the very measures that should require a
unanimous vote and above all "they are necessary for the
functioning of the internal market and to avoid distortion of
competition." (111-63). The same applies to controls of the free
circulation of capital, under article III-46-3: "Only a European law
or framework law of the Council of ministers may enact measures
which constitute a step back in Union law as regards the
liberalisation of the movement of capital to or from third countries.
The Council of Ministers shall unanimously after consultation
with the European parliament."

As for the rest of the constitutional project, nearly everything that
the bosses' union wants, the Union of the confederation of
industry and employers in Europe (UNICE, MEDEF of France is
a member) is set out in Part III. On the other hand, there is no
mention of the rights of wage earners concerning questions of
remuneration, rights of associations, strike action, etc.
The European Union, an instrument for economic exploitation ...

The role of the EU in international commerce (and thereby
enchancing their negotiations at the WTO) is written into the
Constitution. The EU "aims to contribute [...] to the progressive
abolition all restrictions on international trade and on foreign
direct investments, and to the lowering of customs and others
barriers." (III-216). However on the question of the break up of
public services, it is allowed that a member state can be in favour
of maintaining a public service. But public services have: "the
effect of distorting the conditions of competition in the internal
market, the Commission shall, together with the state concerned,
examine how these steps can be adjusted to the rules laid dawn in
the Constitution. By derogation of common law procedure, the
Commission or any member state can apply directly to the Court
of Justice which will sit in secret..." (III-17)

Article III-80 concerns the independence status of the most
opaque body of all the European institutions: the European
Central Bank, watch dog of orthodox monetarism, that reduces
political economy to a mere accounting evaluation of budgetary
alignments of member states in accordance with Maastricht
strictures.

The discard project has also responded to the demands of various
bosses' lobbies,- such as the promotion of distant learning in
education (III-l 82-2 (a)), or on transport, so that "any measure,
adopted within the framework of the Constitution in respect of
transport rates and conditions shall take into account the
economic circumstances of carriers." (III-137). Still on the
particular question of transport, the Constitution shows some
regret that financial "aides shall be compatible with the
Constitution if they meet the needs for co-ordination of transport
or if they represent reimbursement for the discharge [sic] of
certain obligations inherent in the concept of public service"
(III-136)
...and on western military domination

On the questions of foreign policy and common security
(European security and defence policy, ESDP, is one of the EU
political areas), "member states shall undertake progressively to
improve their military capacities." (1-40-3). Article 1-40-2
stipulates that European defence policy shall be compatible with
members' NATO obligations, a direct recognition of the superior
judicial status of that military organisation. Furthermore, the
article continues with even greater precision that "participating
member states shall work in close collaboration with NATO".
Even in situations of "internal serious disturbances affecting
public order, in cases of war or of [...] the threat of war", member
states are obliged to work together in order to avoid "affecting" the
functioning of the "internal market" ! (III-16)
Our objective: provoke a crisis in the European Union

The crisis of the legitimacy of the European Union has been latent
right from its beginnings. It was reinforced by the signing of the
Maastricht Treaty: in certain countries, it was steam rolled
through by the ruling classes, regardless of the hostility to the
Union by a majority of the population. Such was the case of the
Danish State, which had to reorganise its referendum on the
ratification of the Maastricht Treaty until it, got a tiny majority in
favour of signing. Or the case of the Irish Republic also confronted
by a "NO" from the people to the Nice treaty in June 2001. The
Irish government had to reorganise the referendum, but this time
with a solid "pedagogical" preparation in order to secure a majority
in favour of signing on October 2002.

The real face of "European construction" is also shown by social
movements, who periodically shake-up the different countries of
the Union by their opposition to the economic consequences to
Maastricht policies and the Dublin Stability Pact.

The possibility of a referendum on the European Constitution -
and a majority NO in many countries - might be the occasion to
spark a major crisis in the EU.

* Alternative libertaire is opposed to the European Constitution
project, socle for social demolition in each member state of the
EU ;
* We are in favour of referendums on the project to be held in
each member state ;
* In the event of referendums, Alternative libertaire will
campaign for a "NO anticapitalist and internationalist" in the hope
of inflicting an important ideological defeat on European
capitalism.

Paris, 10.01.2004


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